Why Do Fragrances Lose Their Smell

The science behind what makes a fragrance smell good is complex but the chemistry is easy. Fragrances have an expiration date, and it’s not too difficult to find out when that date has been reached.

Fragrances lose their smell over time. The fragrance will last for a while, but eventually it will stop smelling like anything. This is because the molecules in the scent are constantly being broken down by the air and other chemicals. Read more in detail here: how long does cologne smell last.


This is an issue that every fragrance collector will face: your scent no longer smells as it used to. How does this happen, though? Is it possible to keep a fragrance from losing its scent? I made the decision to find out.

What causes scents to lose their scent? A fragrance might lose its scent for a variety of causes. It might have been kept wrongly, it could be really old, causing the top notes to disappear, or it could have gone rotten. If you’re wearing a fragrance and it starts to lose its aroma, it might be due to nose tiredness or a problem with the fragrance’s performance.

A fragrance might lose its scent for a variety of causes. It’s a pity if your aroma fades, since this is readily avoidable. In this post, I’ll go over all of the tricks for keeping your aroma fresh!

What Can You Do To Keep A Fragrance From Losing Its Scent?

It’s not difficult to keep a fragrance from losing its aroma. The most frequent cause for perfumes losing their aroma is inappropriate storage. Fragrances are a mixture of alcohol, water, and fragrance oils in a liquid form. The aroma you’re familiar with is created by combining these oils. The outside environment, on the other hand, have an impact on these oils and may kill them if not properly cared for.

Warmth is one of the worst candidates. Warmth, whether it comes from the sun or your hot shower, is bad for a scent. The temperature difference actually breaks down the aroma oils, making the scent weaker or altogether changing it.

On the other hand, extreme cold has received mixed reactions. Some people swear by putting them in the refrigerator, but others argue that it’s just as harmful as leaving them out in the sun. I don’t store my perfumes in the fridge, nor in the sun or in the bathroom.

Where Should You Keep Your Fragrance?

One of the most crucial components of preserving the perfume is storing it. As I previously said, keeping your scents in the bathroom is not a good idea. In the long term, the warmth of the shower will change your scent. The same may be said about keeping them in a sunny location. Warmth does not agree with fragrances.

Instead, keep your perfume in a cold, dry location. Keep them away from the sun’s rays and in a room with consistent temperatures. Cabinets or drawers are good options, but a cool, shaded nook in a room can suffice. You could even go the extra mile and keep them in their original packaging. This effectively seals out the majority of the outside elements, ensuring that your aroma is well protected.

Of course, this will be inconvenient while applying your scent, so decide how far you want to go. You’ll probably be OK if you remember not to store them in warm spots.

Fragrances Dissipate With Time


No matter how properly you preserve your scents and how well you care for them, they will ultimately vanish. The reason for this is because a scent is a liquid. The evaporation will now be very gradual, and most people will be unaware of it. This, however, may be an issue for those below us who have extensive scent collections.

For example, I have an 8-year-old Calvin Klein Obsession bottle. I also have a bottle of the same scent, which I bought just a few months ago. When you compare the scents, you’ll notice a significant difference. When opposed to the lighter, more contemporary bottle, the 8-year-old bottle has a considerably heavier, richer aroma.

The explanation for this is because the fragrance’s top notes have vanished. The top notes, middle notes, and base notes are the three ‘layers’ of a scent. The beginning notes of a scent are generally the most prominent. This is the aroma you’ll notice when you first apply it. This is the initial and weakest layer of notes. Because these notes are toward the top, they are the first to go as a scent begins to dissipate. If you don’t have a lot of scents, this won’t be an issue. If you have a few, it’s likely that you’ll complete the bottle before the aroma changes due to evaporation.

However, the disappearance of high notes isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. My 8-year-old bottle has a richer, more strong aroma than the younger one, which is why I like it. Nonetheless, evaporation is one of the reasons why certain perfumes lose their scent over time. There is no foolproof method to avoid this, but the greatest precaution you can take is to preserve them properly.

Is It Possible For Fragrances To Go Bad?

Every smell will ultimately go bad, and there is nothing you can do about it except take proper care of it. However, having a scent go bad is an uncommon event. You’ll have to wait many years for the aroma to go bad, and even then, it’s not certain.

Although it is often said that perfumes have a 5-year shelf life, I have an 8-year-old bottle of Calvin Klein Obsession that still smells excellent. The majority of individuals will never experience a scent that has gone rancid. If you have up to ten scents and use them every day, you’re likely to complete them before they expire. And if a scent goes bad, you’ll sense it right away. To put it mildly, they don’t smell pleasant.

Even though most individuals will not have an issue with scents going bad, it is always possible. If you want to learn more about how perfumes go bad and how to avoid it, check out this post I made!

What Happens When Fragrances Lose Their Scent When You Wear Them?

Fragrances lose their aroma not just when they are stored wrongly, but also when they are worn. Fortunately, this is what is supposed to happen. After a certain amount of time, fragrances fade away. The length of time they stay depends on a few factors.

The first is, of course, how you keep them. We’ve previously discussed this, but storing a fragrance wrongly might cause the fragrant oils to be degraded or destroyed, resulting in a fragrance lasting less time.

Another factor is the performance of the fragrance. Not every fragrance has the same performance. Usually, fresher fragrances will disappear much faster, due to the light ingredients that are used. Sweet fragrances, on the other hand, use much denser and strong notes, which will linger around longer. Something like Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme, a sweet and spicy fragrance, will last much longer than something like Le Labo Bergamote 22, a citrus-based fragrance.

This takes us to another crucial consideration. Not all perfumes are made equal. Some scents are created using high-quality materials. These scents will be more costly, but they will typically last longer than those that are less priced yet employ lower-quality components.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your nose may deceive you at times. The condition is sometimes referred to as nose blindness, although the official title is olfactory exhaustion. It’s as if your nose has gone ‘blind’ on you. If you spray a fragrance near your nose, you will be able to smell it the whole time, and your nose will continue to strive to deliver the aroma to you. After a time, your nose and brain begin to filter out that aroma, and your senses adjust to the point where you can no longer detect it.

However, nose blindness isn’t limited to perfumes. It applies to almost everything, from wine tasting to your own home’s aroma. However, some people’s nose blindness is often the cause of complaints about a fragrance’s performance. Although their nose is filtering out that aroma, it is still there, and others around you can smell it!

Perfumes are made to smell nice and last long, but some fragrances lose their scent over time. This is because of the chemicals in the fragrance. Perfume lasts longer when it is stored in a cool, dark place. Reference: what makes perfume last longer.

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